Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

General discussion about learning languages
Hashimi
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Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby Hashimi » Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:05 am

Crosstalk is an amazing thing to do if you’re aiming at reaching full fluency in a foreign language. It works from an absolute beginner level, as I’ve tried it myself with many languages I knew zero of. I’ve also used it to teach some Japanese to many people with no knowledge of the language at all. Because of my experience with input-only methods and all the variety of topics you can discuss, I suspect that by doing only crosstalk you can go from zero all the way to spoken fluency. Also, because you spend the whole time engaged in conversation, my guess right now is that it should probably be the fastest (most efficient) way to get a good basis in the language. After that you would only need to get some more exposure to the language in a variety of situations, like going shopping, so you can learn the specific social norms and the expressions used in those cases.

On the outside, Crosstalk looks a lot like language exchange. And it is language exchange. I would argue it’s the most authentic form of language exchange that exists. The experience of it, though, is very different to traditional language exchange.

The Method
Crosstalk as a principle is very simple. In fact, it is so simple that it can be described in a single sentence:

Speak only your own language.

Like any other language exchange, you want to pair up with someone who speaks the language you want to learn, and who is interested in learning the language you speak. However, in this case, there’s no switching between languages for half of the time. Instead, both people listen to their target languages 100% of the time, and practice speaking them 0% of the time.

This has several advantages:

  • Because you are never forced to speak your target language, you can pay more attention to trying to understand what your partner is telling you, and you learn more. Also you are much less stressed, since you don’t struggle to come up with words or worry about making mistakes.
  • You learn without translations. That means no (or very little) interference from your mother tongue.
  • You don’t need to use grammar and words that you don’t know well yet. That also reduces the interference from your mother tongue.
  • You don’t need to speak before getting used to how the language should really sound. In the long run, that results in a clearer pronunciation that’s easier to understand by native speakers.
  • More efficient than other language exchanges, since you are not spending half of the time in each language.
  • It can be used at any level, since you’re not required to speak the language. Even if you’re an absolute beginner, there are many strategies that allow you to have an actual conversation without falling back to a common language, and start picking up words that way.
  • Below, in the section For Every Level, I explain how this works.

And that’s in addition to all the other advantages that come with any language exchange:

[*]It’s free!
[*]You learn always in context. Be it words, expressions, or grammar. Words just stick much more when you hear them in conversation and you’re expected to understand them.
[*]It’s easy! Besides not being forced to speak, doing crosstalk one-on-one means that your partners can adapt their language to your level of understanding. Your understanding goes up, and so does your learning.
[*]It’s really interesting. You are talking with a native speaker of the language. You’re making friends, and learning about their lives, their childhood, their country and their culture.


More information:

https://dreaminglanguages.wordpress.com ... crosstalk/
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sporedandroid
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby sporedandroid » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:25 am

Sounds interesting. I have social anxiety, especially about speaking other languages. I had a hard time with French immersion as a kid because I was getting pushed hard to speak French before I felt competent. My anxiety about foreign languages is so bad I was even nervous to type in clozemaster answers.
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tommus
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby tommus » Sat Aug 10, 2019 7:38 am

Crosstalk sounds very interesting. I have done many language exchanges in Dutch but never using crosstalk. In fact, there was always an emphasis to "not" do what could be called crosstalk. We always stuck strictly to one language at a time.

In the linked blog description of crosstalk, all the discussion is about listening in your L2 and there is no direct reference to how well your spoken L2 develops. I suppose crosstalk is the way millions of people around the world, out of necessity, learn a second language. I wonder if, after you reach maybe B2 using crosstalk, that you could reverse the situation and each person switch to speaking only in their L2? It would be more stressful for speaking, but less stressful for listening. Maybe then, every second language exchange, you and your partner could do crosstalk and then reverse-crosstalk?

For English/Dutch language exchanges, there is always the problem of finding a native Dutch speaker who isn't already quite fluent in English so that the exchange is unbalanced. If there are any native Dutch speakers who would like to try crosstalk with someone at B2 in Dutch, let me know. Otherwise, I might be tempted to try crosstalk with my weaker languages; German and Spanish.
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby Heiopei » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:47 am

Really? I would like to propose the opposite: Only speak your target language. That way both partners maximise their time speaking the language they are learning.

Crosstalk like you describe it just sounds like a listening exercise with unnecessary code switching :|
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby StringerBell » Sat Aug 10, 2019 1:44 pm

Heiopei wrote:Really? I would like to propose the opposite: Only speak your target language. That way both partners maximise their time speaking the language they are learning.


This is what I do with my Italian LEP. We initially started out doing 1/2 Italian, 1/2 English, but we both have very good listening comprehension and don't need to improve in that area - we both do need to improve in speaking. He suggested that for the entire hour, we each only speak our target language. We've been doing that for about a year and it works pretty well. I had assumed initially that I would have difficulty hearing one language and replying in another, but it actually isn't difficult at all. I think this is a good idea if both people have strong listening skills in their L2s, but if both people need to improve in this area, then I think the 1/2 and 1/2 is better (which is what I do with my other language).

I agree that I don't see the point of a language exchange where you only speak in your native language. There are plenty of other easier ways to improve listening comprehension (TV, podcasts). The part you can't do on your own is speaking, hence the whole point of exchanges (in my opinion).
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devilyoudont
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby devilyoudont » Sat Aug 10, 2019 2:48 pm

I've wound up in the reverse situation on hellotalk before (stubborn person will never use Japanese, so I stop replying in English as well and only give them Japanese), and it's been a surprisingly helpful, despite initially unwelcome, exercise.

After I finish my current project, I want to use the time I currently spend on making flashcards on doing language exchanges instead. I will certainly keep this information in mind, and possibly leave a note in my profile that I am open to doing crosstalk as well as traditional Language Exchanges. However, as others have said above, I would definitely want to do a speaking crosstalk as well as the listening crosstalk outlined by Dreaminglanguages.
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby Sahmilat » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:02 pm

Heiopei wrote:Really? I would like to propose the opposite: Only speak your target language. That way both partners maximise their time speaking the language they are learning.

Crosstalk like you describe it just sounds like a listening exercise with unnecessary code switching :|


The problem with this is that it doesn't give you any input. You'll get better at speaking, but you won't really "learn" anything new. Obviously this is a good exercise, but it isn't a substitute for the large amount of input needed to learn a language.
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StringerBell
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby StringerBell » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:29 pm

Sahmilat wrote:The problem with this is that it doesn't give you any input. You'll get better at speaking, but you won't really "learn" anything new. Obviously this is a good exercise, but it isn't a substitute for the large amount of input needed to learn a language.


Why would doing a language exchange mean that you can't continue to get input from other sources? In the case of my Italian LEP, we are both getting TONS of input from reading, TV shows, podcasts, etc... Getting input on your own is a really easy thing to do. So I don't see why it would be a problem, unless one were learning a language that has practically zero media and speaking with a native speaker was the only way to get any input.
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Sahmilat
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby Sahmilat » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:33 pm

StringerBell wrote:
Sahmilat wrote:The problem with this is that it doesn't give you any input. You'll get better at speaking, but you won't really "learn" anything new. Obviously this is a good exercise, but it isn't a substitute for the large amount of input needed to learn a language.


Why would doing a language exchange mean that you can't continue to get input from other sources? In the case of my Italian LEP, we are both getting TONS of input from reading, TV shows, podcasts, etc... Getting input on your own is a really easy thing to do. So I don't see why it would be a problem, unless one were learning a language that has practically zero media and speaking with a native speaker was the only way to get any input.


Oh I agree. I just read the OP of this thread as framing crosstalk as a way to learn a language by itself, so I was reading the responses as being along those same lines. Obviously speaking practice is good if you have it together with input, I don't disagree at all.
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Elsa Maria
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Re: Crosstalk: Have you ever tried it?

Postby Elsa Maria » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:09 pm

I use crosstalk with one of my closest friends. I didn't know there was a name for our preferred communication method :)

We don't do crosstalk by design, it is just what works best for our friendship. My ability to speak Danish is far from C1. Her English level is high, but nevertheless she feels that she can express herself better in her native language. We both have high levels of listening comprehension. Thus, I speak English and she speaks Danish.

Sometimes conversations are English-English or Danish-Danish. Sometimes they are in "Danglish."

Is the crosstalk any good for my Danish? I don't know.
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